Processed Aconite and the Treatment of Portal Hypertension
Portal hypertension is the most significant complication of liver cirrhosis, and esophageal varices, a complication of portal hypertension, is the cause of death in one third of those who die from complications of liver cirrhosis. Consequently, the question of how to effectively prevent and treat portal hypertension has been an important topic of discussion among physicians. Research done at China Medical University, Taiwan that has revealed processed Aconite's (Pao Fu Zi) ability to strengthen the heart and its possible use as a treatment for portal hypertension has opened a completely new field in the treatment of this deadly illness.
At the Taipei Traditional Medicine International Forum 2010 in Taiwan, Professor Yi-zhang Su, director of the TCM department at China Medical University, presented his Fundamental Research on the use of Processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) in the Treatment of Portal Hypertension. In it he described using a partial portal vein ligation (PPVL) animal model to access processed Aconite's (Pao Fu Zi) ability to relieve portal vein pressure and influence systematic hemodynamics in rats.
The experiment was divided into three parts:
1. Evaluation of the effects of administering Processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) in the early stages of portal hypertension: Portal hypertensive rats were randomly divided into 5 groups and given two dosages of saline solution per day orally. In addition the rats were given Propranolol (low doses of 15gm/kg and high doses of 30mg/kg) and Processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) (low doses of 0.4g/kg and high doses of 0.8g/kg) for a total of 14 days.
2. Evaluation of the effects of administering processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) in the late stages of portal hypertension: Two weeks after PPVL surgery, an extremely high dose (2.4g/kg) of Processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) was given to the rats for a total of 14 days.
Evaluation of the hemodynamic effects and safety of processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) on normal rats: In addition to following the same protocols as the experimental groups the control group was also assessed for blood biochemistry values and pathological changes in the liver and kidney.
Research results demonstrate that high doses of processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) given in the early stage of portal hypotension can lower pressure within the portal vein, as well as elevate average arterial pressure, increase heart rate, stroke index, and cardiac index, and improve conditions of portal hypertension with systemic hypotension. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which Processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi) lowers portal vein pressure are different than that of Propranolol. According to the research results, processed Aconite (Pao Fu Zi), with its heart strengthening effects, can provide a new direction in the field of portal hypertension treatment.
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